|There are multiple ways to start growing your pepper seeds. |
I will now tell you the way we are growing our peppers. This may be somewhat different to the instructions you find searching the web, but we are highly successful with our method.
Things you need
First you need a warm place, a mini green house with heating, or a box where you can hold constant temperatures between 77-86°F (25-30°C) in the first stage of propagation. Anything below this range will give you unsufficient results or no germination if it´s cold enough. You need a commercial propagation substrate on turf basis, Perlite, Vermiculite, plastic pots and glass plates to cover the pots.
Soak the seeds
Seeds are soaked in warm water for two days with one change after 24h. If the seeds tend to float add a very low amount of dish washer to the water. This will enhance water uptake, as the seeds have some oil at the surface repelling water.
In order to avoid bacterial growth, we recommend to add hydrogen peroxide to the water. There are small bottels with a 3% (w/v) solution available in drug stores or pharmacies (https://www.drugstore.com/products/prod.asp?pid=73864). Use 9 parts of water and 1 part of hydrogen peroxide solution (final delution should be 0.3% of hydrogen peroxide). Hard to germinate seeds like some Capsicum chinense or Capsicum annuum varieties can be pretreated with a 2% (w/v) saltpeter solution at a maximum of 24h.
Potting the seeds
Prepare a mixture of 2 parts of commercial propagation substrate and one part of Perlite and one part of Vermiculite. Use clean plastic pots 8cm (3 inch) and fill 2/3 of the volume with your propagation mix (4-5 spoons).
Press down the substrate with a spoon or a punch prepared from wood.
Distribute the presoaked seeds on the surface an cover with a spoon of substrate. Then set the pot into a bowl with some inches of warm water and led soak until the surface gets dark.
Now cover your pot with the with the glass plate and put into your propagation box or mini green house set at 29°C. Until the seeds have sprouted, no light is needed.
Inspect your pots daily and remove all pots where the seeds have spouted.
First weeks Pots with sprouted seeds are put at a somewhat cooler place (room temperature) under fluorescent light.
Use tubes with the 865 specification that produce pure white light, this will give you compact growth with dark green leaves. If you use more red light you will get unwanted early lengthy growth with unstable plants.
First transplant After the second pair of true leaves has developed, it´s time to transplant the seedlings to single pots. Use the same mixture as above, keep the young plants at somewhat lower temperatures (about 75°F) under good light but avoid direct sunlight in the first week after transplantation. Then adopt to sunlight and lower humidity. Any type of potassium enriched fertilizer will now help to setup a very good rooting and compact, green growth.